bending without breaking

no more party tricks for these knees

I’ve been a dancer my whole life, so from a young age, my seemingly natural flexibility was encouraged. People told me I was “double jointed.” My elbows and knees bend backwards, and I easily sank into splits.

No one knew about hypermobile EDS (hEDS) when I was growing up so I developed some bad habits, including showing off my flexibility which put unnecessary stress on my tendons and ligaments. I am really feeling it now as I grow older and wish I knew sooner of the ways I could have prevented injury and protected my joints. Now I know I need to literally tell my muscles to work (which is what I am doing in the photo above to achieve my “oversplit”), and hope that over time my body remembers to work and protect me for the longevity of my sport and for my regular life in motion.

These days there’s a bit more information about hypermobile EDS (hEDS) bodies and how they work differently, so if you feel you are like me and have been dealing with chronic muscle and joint pain, limbs that dislocate randomly, and even stomach, breathing, and anxiety issues, do a google search and find out more about this spectrum disorder.

People that have chronic pain may be smiling on the outside, but they are def battling their bodies on the inside. Shout out to everyone who has to put on a happy face ❤ Sending love to you!

Take Beighton Score test to see if you might be hypermobile EDS (hEDS): https://www.physio-pedia.com/Beighton_score

And if you are interested in learning more about how we can safely move our hypermobile bodies in aerial work, think about attending our upcoming Pole In The Wall workshop with Dr. Cody Ibarra on October 9, 2021 from 3pm – 4:30pm EST “A Hypermobile Polers Guide to Bending Without Breaking.

Attend for $30.00 in studio or online.

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Photo above by Knitshibari
@ericwallisphotography
Eyeofthetiger Photography

balance

my hips don’t lie

Working in balancing postures forces you to find good alignment, or else you fall over. Finding balance has always been a struggle for me, but I always remind myself that the struggle is what makes us stronger.

I have always been flexible and splits come naturally, but as you can see from the header image above, my balance of strength and flexibility is off. You can see it in my hips — that right hip is not as strong as the left. My hips don’t lie in these photos. I also fell over many times attempting to take these photos.

I am using these photos as a starting point for me to make an effort to practice balance so my muscles can work in the most efficient way possible when I need them. If I continue working within my current imbalances, I am sure they will act as a domino effect as my other muscles try to compensate. Maybe one day I’ll start to walk differently because of it, or have pain when I move certain ways.

I find that when I teach too much, the demonstrating on one side causes imbalance, forcing me to then switch to the other side. If I am doing too much physical activity, I need to take moments to find more stillness to balance my body and my mind. I am an introverted person, so if I am around people too much, I need to find time to be alone to balance it all out.

I think it is also helpful to work toward finding balance in all the things I do during my day and I try to put effort in toward balancing my routine. Building a relationship with how balance keeps us balanced (LOL) can help us understand why sometimes struggling needs to happen, and it makes us stronger so we can enjoy the good times.

What are some ways you are imbalanced? How do you incorporate balance physically, mentally, or spiritually into your day? Share your tips and let’s keep our bodies & minds healthy and balanced together!

self care

be your own spa

I am a person who prefers self-administered self care. Maybe it is because I am always too broke to get a massage, a haircut, or my nails done, but I try to do these things for myself one day a week. I work a lot with my body, so if I neglect the quiet time, my body gets cranky and eventually forces me to stop.

If you are in a position where you are unable to get your usual self care fix, here are some ways I have turned my home space into a personal spa that may inspire your home self care practice

set a time

I take a look at my weekly schedule on Sundays and see where I can pop in my self care moments. Then I plan on the day and I stick to it, reasoning with myself that if I am able to keep appointments with others, I can surely keep this appointment with myself. Sometimes I do have to schedule things around my self care, but I try to at least make it a lighter load for myself so I am able to focus mostly on myself.

That cute egg was handmade by SensEmilia

set an intention

What does your body want to do? Sit and listen to yourself. Does it want to recline on comfy pillows, sipping rosehip tea while looking at color swatches? Does it want to wallow its feet in a bubble bath? Does it want to roll out its back on a floor using a foam roller, wailing in “pain” for an hour as you work through your knots? Maybe it wants to belt out the full Boys for Pele album by Tori Amos? Honor what you are feeling and go for it! These are all things my body has wanted for self care time, so if they are speaking to you, do the thing!

more ideas

  • Sing to your pets
  • Paint your nails
  • Sit in the sunshine
  • Make a useless craft
  • Bake yourself a cake
  • Go for a hike
  • Read some weird poetry
  • Write some weird poetry

Do you have a self care routine? How have you managed to continue your routine through the quarantine? Share your tips and let’s keep our bodies & minds healthy and balanced together!

hand and skin care for pole dancers

How can we keep our skin and hands hydrated without compromising our pole practice?

For pole dancers, wearing lotion before practice is a huge no-no. For me, I am able to go lotion-less all summer long, but by fall my skin starts to crack. How can we keep our skin and hands hydrated without compromising our pole practice?

Just like everyone needs a different hand grip that works for them individually (I love Dry Hands and Lupit Grip Pads the best), your personal hand and skin care routine will vary. I wanted to share my unique regimen in hopes it may also work for you, or perhaps inspire you to research how to keep your unique skin healthy all year long.

These are my hands — dry and calloused. I pole about 12 hours a week and have developed calluses on my palms, toward the creases of my fingers, and at the tips of my fingers. If I don’t care for them, they turn into blisters.

Once a week, I make sure I sand down the calluses on my hands with a foot callous filer, the one used for feet and heels. The most abrasive side helps to get rid of the giant mounds that form in the hand creases. The softer side takes care of the fingertips.

Before I file, I make sure the skin is soft by either soaking my hands in warm water (you can add essential oils and salts and turn it into a self care moment!), or filing after I have taken a long shower. Also in the shower, I use my fingernails to remove any loose skin that may be in the creases of my hands before I file them away after the shower. Peeling away at the skin in the warm water helps to gently remove the dead skin. Just be careful you don’t overdo it!

On rest days, I use a concoction made by Gifts from the Gods on my hands. It is a mix of coconut oil and camphor oil, though would not recommend using this lotion on days when you want to pole because of the coconut oil. For me, using it on rest days provides my hands with soothing relief, and the camphor oil is good for inflammation and pain. The oiliness is usually gone for me by the next day, and it never affects my pole practice.

If I ever have a huge crack in my hands and need some relief on the same day I have to practice, I always use my Climb On lotion bar. This lotion bar is beeswax based and contains no oils. I wouldn’t recommend putting it on your hands right before going to pole, but if you do a few hours before, it stops the hands from cracking open, and it smells amazing too. I love this stuff — heals blisters overnight!

Lastly, on days when I will be pole dancing and my skin is feeling particularly dry, I spray Rosewater and Glycerin Mist on my skin. It’s a non-oil based moisturizer that makes your skin hold onto its moisture longer. I have found using this a few hours on my skin before I pole, I am fine for practice and my skin doesn’t feel itchy or dry.

How do you care for your hands and skin? Everyone has different skin, so share your skin regimen in hopes it will help others! 🙂